PORTAGE, Wis – Sheriff's deputies have arrested a woman for allegedly digging up her dead boyfriend's ashes from a Columbia County cemetery more than 10 years ago and drinking the beer that was buried with him, possibly out of spite for his family.
Karen Stolzmann (search), now 44, was arrested Tuesday in a case Columbia County Detective Wayne Smith calls "twisted and bizarre."
Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe De Cecco said Thursday he would likely determine this week if possession charges should be filed in his county since the urn was found at Stolzmann's Sheboygan home. A call to the Columbia County district attorney's office was not immediately returned Thursday.
Stolzmann has already been charged with a misdemeanor count of concealing stolen property.
Michael Hendrickson, 27, died in 1992 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His family contacted authorities three weeks ago because they found out his remains had been stolen.
An exhumation revealed Hendrickson's cremated remains were missing from Cambria Cemetery in Cambria. Beer and cigarettes that were buried with him were also missing.
Sheriff's deputies investigated and were led to Stolzmann. Detectives searched her home and found her hiding in the shower.
The remains, located in her garage, had "identifiable things to make us believe they're (Hendrickson's)," Smith said.
Some of Hendrickson's memorabilia was also recovered, but Smith believes Stolzmann drank the beer buried with the remains.
Stolzmann was arrested Tuesday night and later released, with a Nov. 15 return date.
Detective Jay Yerges said Stolzmann and Hendrickson were living together in the early 1990s, both married to other people. The relationship was stormy, with a pattern of alcohol and domestic abuse, Yerges said.
Stolzmann was present when Hendrickson shot himself in January 1992. Yerges said Hendrickson's family blamed her for his death and she was not invited to his services.
"I feel that her motive was spite," Yerges said. "If she has the cremains, that's her control over (Hendrickson's) family."
Hendrickson's family, who live in Cleveland, Wis., declined comment, but Smith said they were happy to hear the remains were found.
Robbing graves is a felony offense, but authorities say the six-year statute of limitations has passed for prosecution.
But there may be a way to prosecute because no one knew the remains were missing until now, he said.
Until prosecutors decide on other charges, Hendrickson's remains will stay in evidence.